Whether a pregnant woman is at risk of premature delivery could eventually be predicted by a blood test, according to new research.
Watching with interest and hope.
Causes of stomach tightening during each trimester
Stomach-tightening is one such symptom that many women experience during pregnancy.There are many reasons for the stomach or abdomen to tighten during pregnancy, and these may vary, depending on the trimester. Of course speaking to your chosen health care provider is always recommended if any concern is experienced.
The first trimester has many factors that can cause stomach tightening and pains including:
During the first trimester, the uterus is growing and stretching rapidly to accommodate the growing fetus. This can cause abdominal cramping or sharp, stabbing, or shooting pains along the side of the abdomen, as the ligaments and other tissues stretch.
Wind Pain or constipation
Gas pain is a very common problem throughout pregnancy. It can cause cramping or shooting pain in the abdomen, and it can be very painful. Constipation is also a common complaint in early pregnancy. The changing pregnancy hormones can slow down the gastrointestinal tract.
Also, the iron in some prenatal vitamins can harden stool and make it difficult to go to the bathroom. Both gas and constipation can sometimes make it feel as if the stomach is tightening. Should you have any concerns about being able to have your bowels open you should share your concerns with your chosen health professional.
This of course is the major concern for anyone experiencing abdominal discomfort. As you can see there are many reasons for abdomen pain, most are irritations that can be aided away or will naturally resolve however, tightening of the abdomen can signal a miscarriage, which is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks.
A miscarriage is most common before the 12th week of pregnancy. Other signs of a miscarriage include:
Stretching, cramping, and stabbing pain along the sides of the uterus often continues into the second trimester, and is known as round ligament pain. The round ligaments are located on either side of the uterus and connect the uterus to the groin.
During pregnancy, the ligaments stretch as the uterus grows, which can cause the sharp pain. This pain commonly occurs with changes in position, such as sitting to standing or bending down.
Most women start to feel their uterus contract and periodically tighten some time during the second trimester, the point in their pregnancy between 14 to 28 weeks. These are known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, false labor, or practice contractions.
The purpose of Braxton-Hicks contractions is for the uterus to prepare for the hard work of labor and delivery. It is thought that they help to tone the muscle in the uterus and promote blood flow to the placenta.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are normal and very common. They typically last for around 30 to 60 seconds but can be as long as 2 minutes. They are not as painful as regular contractions, but can still cause considerable pain and discomfort.
Braxton-Hicks contractions can be exacerbated by sex (particularly orgasm), dehydration, retaining urine and poor urination habits as well as baby activity.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are common during pregnancy, mention them to your chosen health professional at your antenatal visits. This can help in reassuring that they are braxton hicks and not signs of pre-term labour. To assist in ensuring they are B-Hicks and not worrying signs of early labour it is essential that you inform your chosen health care provider of
Braxton-Hicks contractions may increase in strength.Stomach-tightening associated with Braxton-Hicks contractions increases in strength and frequency during the third trimester. These contractions are especially common during the last few weeks of pregnancy as the uterus prepares for birth.
However, it is still important to notice and keep track of them. If a woman has more than a few in an hour, she should inform her chosen health provider.
In the third trimester things that can assist with pains and contractions include:
Maintaining hydration, drinking water and resting. Ensuring full bladder emptying and not holding on to a full bladder. Positional changes and considerations. Using immersion in a warm bath or warm shower to relieve muscle stresses.
Again, you should have a relationship with your chosen health professional to be able to discuss any concerns or changes that are occuring in your pregnancy.
Labor vs. Braxton-Hicks contractions.Often Braxton Hicks contractions are not regular in strength or frequency but will eventually develop into contractions of labour that are. Labour contractions are not relieved so readily by positional change and rudimentary observations of hydration and position. It is of benefit to discuss any concerns with your chosen health professional.
Exposing the gut to chlamydia protects against subsequent infection in the genital tract and other tissues, researchers from UT Health San Antonio discovered. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease and is associated with and can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated.
"This research emphasizes the pre-exposure of chlamydia to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as a vaccine," said Guangming Zhong, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.
The protection is very robust and is across tissues, which is called transmucosal immunity. Protected sites include the genital tract and the lungs, said Dr. Zhong, whose faculty appointment is in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics.
The discovery, reported Nov. 13, 2017, in Infection and Immunity, indicates that exposing the gut first to chlamydia is a novel avenue to explore in preventing the genital infection. However, when the genital tract is the site of initial chlamydia exposure, a different outcome may result. In this scenario, genital chlamydia spreads to the gut and induces responses that promote further disease in the genital tract. Dr. Zhong hypothesized this disease pattern in a review article published Dec. 27, 2017, in Trends in Microbiology.
Human exposure to chlamydia is unpredictable, perhaps coming through genital or non-genital sexual contact with an infected partner and perhaps via contact with contaminated materials. The UT Health San Antonio scientists are utilizing a mouse model that is a controlled way to study chlamydia transmission.
The team found that if the gut is the first site to be colonized by chlamydia bacteria, then the mice are immunized against further disease. The gut infection is benign. But if the genital tract is the first to be infected, the resulting disease is harmful. This results in a worse disease prognosis, including the possibility of infertility because the disease is advanced before symptoms are evident.
"If you are exposed to chlamydia in the GI tract first, it's a vaccine, but if you are exposed in the genital tract first, you may have enhanced disease," Dr. Zhong said.
A probiotic for the gut
Dr. Zhong is exploring the possibility that Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacterium that causes chlamydia, could be delivered orally as a vaccine.
"We take probiotics for our GI health," Dr. Zhong said. "In the future, we may add chlamydia as a probiotic for the gut. Once the bacteria are established in the GI tract, they don't spread."
About 1.6 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016. Because many individuals have no symptoms and don't get tested, the number of annual cases is estimated to be as high as 2.8 million.
Chlamydia is especially common among young people, and the CDC estimates 1 in 20 sexually active young women age 14-24 have the STD.
Source https://www.sciencedaily.com : Luying Wang, Cuiming Zhu, Tianyuan Zhang, Qi Tian, Nu Zhang, Sandra Morrison, Richard Morrison, Min Xue, Guangming Zhong. Nonpathogenic Colonization with Chlamydia in the Gastrointestinal Tract as Oral Vaccination for Inducing Transmucosal Protection. Infection and Immunity, 2018; 86 (2): e00630-17 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00630-17
Take any two cells from your body and there's a good chance their genetic sequences will be a match. That is, unless you happen to have what's referred to in the medical literature as a 'tetragametic chimerism' – a condition that causes separate fertilised embryos to merge into a single body.
Once thought to be rare among humans, there's good reason to suspect we might be seeing a lot more of it in the future.
The truth is, nobody is really certain how many humans have cells in their body that once belonged to a sibling.
Unlike the transplantation of a fully developed organ into a grown body, the presence of genetically distinct cells early in life won't trigger alarm bells in the immune system.
That makes it possible for two (or more) fertilised eggs – siblings, for all purposes – to bump into one another in the uterus, and mistake their new neighbour for another cell in their own growing body. Far from rejecting each other, the cells team up and continue to build a single human.
The tides of hormones and other chemical signals directing the embryo's evolution tend to affect the two cells in pretty much the same way, making it hard to spot where one developing tissue ends and another begins.
On occasion, however, the different sets of genes do make themselves known.
Increased reliance on assisted reproductive technologies means we can expect more multiple conceptions.
Just how many of these embryonic siblings merge into a single person is far from clear. Given how little we know about either its prevalence or how it might be responsible for anything from allergies to auto-immune disorders, this could be concerning.
But no doubt it's a topic we'll be learning more about in coming years.
Exercise tips for pregnancy
Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve health, reduce the risk of excess weight gain and back pain, and it may make delivery easier.Moderate exercise during pregnancy may give a newborn a healthier start.
Exercise at any time can improve heart health and stamina, decrease fatigue and constipation, boost mood and energy levels, enhance sleep, and improve muscle strength.
A well-chosen exercise program can have the same benefits during pregnancy.
It is important to discuss any changes in exercise habits with a health care provider, to make sure you do the right kind of exercise at the right stage of pregnancy.
Fast facts about exercise during pregnancyHere are some facts about exercising during pregnancy. More detail is in the main article.
Some special exercises can help prepare for labor.
These carry little risk of injury, they benefit the entire body, and they can continue until delivery.
Brisk walking. If pre-pregnancy exercise levels were low, a quick stroll around the neighborhood is a good way to start.
This will provide a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on the knees and ankles. It can be done for free, almost anywhere, and at any time during pregnancy.
Safety tip: As pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity changes, and you can lose your sense of balance and coordination.
Choose smooth surfaces, avoid potholes, rocks, and other obstacles, and wear supportive footwear.
SwimmingSwimming and exercising in water give a better range of motion without putting pressure on the joints. The buoyancy offered by the water may offer some relief from the extra weight.
Swimming, walking in water, and aqua aerobics offer health benefits throughout pregnancy.
Safety tip: Choose a stroke that feels comfortable, and that does not strain or hurt your neck, shoulders, or back muscles, for example, breaststroke. A kickboard can help strengthen the leg and buttock muscles.
The bike helps support body weight, and, because it is stationary, the risk of falling is low.
Later in pregnancy, a higher handlebar may be more comfortable.
YogaPrenatal yoga classes keep the joints limber and help maintain flexibility.
Yoga strengthens muscles, stimulates blood circulation, and enhances relaxation. These may contribute to a healthy blood pressure during pregnancy.
The techniques learnt in yoga class can also help you to stay calm and in control during labor.
Safety tip: As pregnancy progresses, skip positions that could cause you to overbalance.
From the second semester, it is better to avoid poses that involve lying on the abdomen or flat on the back.
Lying on the back can cause the weight of the fetus and the uterus to put pressure on major veins and arteries and decrease blood flow to the heart.
It can be tempting to overstretch, as the hormone relaxin increases flexibility and joint mobility during pregnancy. Overstretching could lead to injury.
Low-impact aerobicsAerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and helps maintain muscle tone. Low-impact aerobics excludes jumping, high kicks, leaps, or fast running.
In low-impact exercise, one foot should stay on the ground at all times.
Compared with high-impact aerobics, the low-impact option:
Some aerobics classes are designed especially for pregnant women. This can be a good way to meet other pregnant women, as well as exercising with an instructor who is trained to meet your specific needs.
Women who already attend a regular aerobics class should let the instructor know that they are pregnant so they can modify exercises and advise about suitable movements.
Preparing for labor: Squatting and pelvic tiltsBrisk walking instead of jogging can reduce pressure on the lower back.The American Pregnancy Association recommends some exercises specifically for pregnancy, as they prepare the body for labor and delivery.
Squatting: During labor, squatting may help to open the pelvis, so it may be a good idea to practice during pregnancy.
BenefitsExercise during pregnancy can provide great benefit for a mother and child.During pregnancy, exercise should aim to:
Research shows that when pregnant women exercise, fetal heart rate is lower. Newborns may also have a healthier birth weight, a lower fat mass, improved stress tolerance, and advanced neurobehavioral maturation.
TipsWomen who were exercising regularly before pregnancy, and who are healthy during pregnancy, should be able to continue exercising as before, with slight changes depending on the trimester.
Women who have not been exercising before pregnancy will benefit from taking up a low-intensity program and gradually move to a higher activity level.
Exercise is recommended for 20 to 30 minutes each day, on most days. Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy if done with caution.
Tips for healthy exercise during pregnancyPhysical changes during pregnancy create extra demands on the body, so it is important to exercise with care.
How to exercise safelySwimming whilst pregnant is an effective, safe form of exercise.A few tips can help you stay safe when exercising.
Activities may change as time goes on, because of bodily changes that occur.
Who should not exercise?Exercise is rarely harmful, but anyone with a medical condition, such as asthma, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, or a pregnancy-related condition should speak to a health care provider first.
Exercise may not be advised if there is:
When to stopStop exercising and consult a health care provider if you:
The preceding was adapted from Medical News Today Newsletter.
The results are in and no surprise communication is the most valued qualities in Obstetricians and Midwives. The results are below.
Good Communication! Effective Listening and a demonstration of personal commitment. 70.45%
The Health Professionals gender 9.09%
Ease of access and location of consulting rooms. 6.82%
Cost, and admitting rights to specific hospital and other reasons scored each 4.55%
There were in total 88 votes cast.
The findings reinforce the importance of effective communication. Please identify whether I should run any more polls. 88 suggests some interest but not sure it is enough interest to entertain the idea to do them regularly. Let me know what you think.
A poll on the qualities of your chosen professional.
Decided to conduct a week long poll open to anyone! What are the most important considerations when choosing an individual Doctor or midwife. Please share and get others to vote. I'll publish the result in a weeks time on the 27th February. I am interested at viewing aspects important to anyone who cares to share. You are able to chose two of the selection and if choosing other it would help if you comment below the poll. Have fun and if successful will do other such polls. Have fun
Our first birthday celebration.
We can't wait to show you around, to enjoy some cake and a fun time for all. There will be plenty of room for everyone, sausage sizzles all day long and a jumping castle for your bouncy little people.
All welcome - Sunday 18th Feb 10am-3pm at 124 Wellington Rd East Brisbane.
Dr. Petrina Duncan and Kindred M.O.G wish to advise the above GIF is NOT a recommendation and that all pregnant woman should discuss with there health professionals before undertaking in Break Dancing and partying on! Coming to the Birthday Party no consultation is required!
If you ask me, or have ever asked me the most important skill of an obstetrician or a midwife (my husband Nigel agrees wholeheartedly with me on this),is the art of communication which underpins your knowledge and skills. I read with great delight the opinion piece in the BMJ and salute the RCOG response below. As always I am intently listening
"An opinion piece published in The BMJ discusses the importance of language as a way of respecting women's views and ensuring that they are empowered to make decisions around their pregnancy and birth.
Commenting in response, Mr Edward Morris, Vice President for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:
“This opinion piece highlights the importance of creating a culture of respect and privacy for women during pregnancy, labour and after birth. It is essential that healthcare professionals ensure women feel like they are in control of and involved in what is happening to them, and supported in their choices around birth.
“The RCOG welcomes this recognition and seeks to follow these principals in our own guidance to ensure that women are at the centre of their own care. Through our work with the Women’s Network, the College actively engages with women around the creation of guidelines and information to better understand how to effectively and respectively communicate with women. It is important that all healthcare professionals are aware of this change in dialogue as good maternity communication can significantly improve a woman’s birthing experience and postnatal health.”
The RCOG champions the best in women’s health care and supports doctors so that they’re equipped to do the best job possible for women. The RCOG Women’s Network aims to make sure that women are at the heart of everything the College does. For more information, visit the Women's Network"
I have left the links to the BMJ and Womens Networks as points of interest.
Adequate levels of Vitamin D may have a big impact on Pregnancy. It may be appropriate to consider Vitamin D as an essential point of focus in pregnancy.
A recent Study: Trajectory of vitamin D status during pregnancy in relation to neonatal birth size and fetal survival: a prospective cohort study. Concludes that:
They "found that higher vitamin D status among women in late, but not early, pregnancy was associated with lower probability of SGA and LBW." They further conclude that "lower early pregnancy 25OHD was associated with pregnancy loss. High vitamin D status in late, but not early, pregnancy was associated with lower odds of SGA and LBW. Change in 25OHD during pregnancy was associated with SGA, LBW and preterm delivery, with the lowest odds for women with an increment in 25OHD ≥ 30 nmol/L. Both higher late pregnancy vitamin D status and gestational vitamin D status trajectory can be suspected to play a role in healthy pregnancy."
Another Study Bärebring L, Bullarbo M, Glantz A, Leu Agelii M, Jagner A, Ellis J, et al. Preeclampsia and blood pressure trajectory during pregnancy in relation to vitamin D status. PLoS One. 2016;11(3):e0152198. Concentrated on the effects on pre-eclampsia and concluded, that "an increase in 25(OH)D concentration during pregnancy of at least 30 nmol/L, regardless of vitamin D status at T1, was associated with a lower odds ratio for PE. Vitamin D status was positively associated with T1 BP and gestational SBP trajectory, but not with pregnancy-induced hypertension."
Vitamin D watch this space!